Erich Reich

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Sir Erich Arieh Reich (born 1935, Vienna, Austria) is an Austrian-born entrepreneur based in London, who through his charity challenges company Classic Tours has inspired over 42,000 people to raise £60million for 300+ UK charities.

Early life[edit]

Reich was born in 1935. In 1938, he was one of the children of 5,000 families deported by Nazi Germany to Poland. Under the Kindertransport agreement, he arrived in the United Kingdom, aged 4, in August 1939, one of 10,000 children. He never saw his parents again, who were murdered in Auschwitz.[1] Initially placed with a foster family in Dorking, Surrey, he moved to a Jewish school in North London. Aged 13 he emigrated to the new state of Israel in 1948.[1]


Reich returned to London in 1967, working for Thomson Holidays, where by 1970 he was Operations Director. He then joined Thomas Cook, where by 1979 he was Managing Director of tour operations.[2]

In 1987 he set up Classic Tours, a charity fundraising company that specialises in activity-based global travel [2] In 2004, Reich had a complaint upheld by OfCom, over a report by the BBC1's Watchdog programme into Classic Tours.[3]


In 1992, Reich proposed a fund raising bicycle ride, to raise funds for the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society and Ravenswood, a Jewish home for the disabled. The original proposal was for 50 people to ride the 400 kilometres (250 mi) northern section of the newly opened Israel National Trail, from Dan in the north of Israel to Beersheba, Israel.[4] The eventual trip in November 1992 had 230 participants, and raised £600,000.[2]

The sum raised and the enthusiasm it created resulted in Classic Tours being approached by other charities to undertake similar events. Classic Tours now operates more than 100 events each year, offering events based on activities as varied as trekking, mountain climbing and horse riding.[2] The events are arranged as either bespoke challenges for specific charities, consortiums with groups of charities, and open challenges available for anyone to join.[2] The events in 17 years of operations have inspired more than 42,000 people to raise £60m via overseas trips.[1]

In 2008, as chairman of the Association of Jewish Refugees' Kindertransport group, he organised celebrations marking 70 years since Parliament allowed the Jewish youngsters into Britain.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Reich is currently married to Linda Haase, and has five grown children from previous marriages.[1]


Reich was recognised with an outstanding contribution award at the 2008 Professional Fundraising Awards.[2] He was knighted for his charitable contributions in the 2010 New Year Honours.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Kindertransport refugee Erich Reich gets knighthood". BBC News. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Erich Reich - Outstanding Contribution". Professional Fundraising Awards. Archived from the original on 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Complaint by Mr Erich Reich of Classic Tours - BBC Watchdog". OfCom. 2004-12-07. Archived from the original on 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  4. ^ "Refugee who fled from Nazis knighted". Yorkshire Evening Post. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  5. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 1. 

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